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Global Divisions Over 5G, Zuckerberg Says Advertisers Will Return, Lifeline Program Underutilized

Elijah Labby

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Photo of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg by Pete Souza used with permission

The effort to expedite the production of 5G connective technology is pulling the world apart, WIRED reported.

Telecom companies in the United States and abroad have long looked at 5G technology as having the potential to connect disparate ends of the world more quickly and efficiently than ever, but questions of privacy and government interference posed by U.S. legislators are stalling the rollout of low-cost Chinese telecom infrastructure across the country.

Existing tensions have worsened throughout the Trump presidency, with increasing tariffs driving a wedge between the powers. Now, distrust of Chinese 5G equipment is exacerbating the divide.

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission designated major Chinese technology companies Huawei and ZTE as national security threats, and banned the companies from using funds from the agency’s Universal Service Fund.

Scott Wallsten, president of the Technology Policy Institute, said that the bans come at the cost of greater global connectivity. The agency’s decision risks “further fragmenting the internet and the way different networks connect to each other,” he said.

Zuckerberg says that advertisers will return ‘soon enough’

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, said in a video conference that he expects many former advertisers, who left in response to the website’s reluctance to remove content deemed inappropriate by competitors, to return “soon enough,” CNET reported. 

Significant brands like Microsoft and Target have all pulled advertisements off Facebook, and over 500 others have joined them.

Zuckerberg said that he had no plans to change Facebook’s content policies because of the protests.

“We’re not gonna change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue, or to any percent of our revenue,” he said.

Facebook does not profit off the content in question and is working to remove content that violates their guidelines, Zuckerberg said.

“As we’ve said, we make policy changes based on principles, not revenue pressures,” he said.

FCC’s Lifeline program severely underutilized

Only a fifth of the people eligible for the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program are using it, Axios reported.

The program provides $9.25 per month to eligible telecom companies serving low-income consumers. However, of the 38 million households eligible for the assistance, fewer than a fifth are connected.

Commissioner Geoffrey Starks blamed this underutilization on the decision of the conservative members of the agency, led by Chairman Ajit Pai, to roll back the federal government’s ability to approve telecom companies nationally.

He also said that a dysfunctional registration website could make it more difficult for eligible consumers to apply.

The Lifeline program is more important than ever and these problems must be addressed quickly, Starks said.

“Lifeline is more essential than ever for millions of Americans, and we’ve got to do better by them,” he said.

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